Born in the rolling hills of Dorset, Thomas Hardy (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was a novelist and poet of the Naturalist movement.
Brought up by his mother Jemima, he was very well-educated for the age, studying Latin and showing great academic potential (much like his protagonist, Jude). At the age of 16, not having the financial means to become a known intellect, he was apprenticed to a local architect.
He later moved to London, and studied architecture at Kings College, to much critical acclaim. However, he never felt at home in London, and returned to Bockhampton (near Dorchester) not long after.
In 1870, while visiting Cornwall to restore a parish church, Hardy met Emma Lavinia Gifford. They fell in love, and married in 1874. By the time Emma died in 1912, the couple had become estranged; however, Hardy was still deeply affected by her death. This can be seen in his Poems 1912-13, written when he revisited areas of Cornwall associated with their courtship.
Two years after her death, Hardy married his secretary, Florence Dugdale (39 years his junior). After becoming ill with pleurisy in December 1927, Hardy died and was buried in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey.